It is the final week of the regular season. Did your letter from Hogwarts arrive? Did a painted blue key mysteriously appear on your coffee table? I am trying to ask if you’ve made the playoffs. Well, I hope so and I hope this weekly column has assisted you along the way. With the playoffs just a week away, it is time to make secure decisions for your team. Handcuff those running backs and look past a single week outlook. The playoff semifinals and finals matchups should carry a great deal of weight with your waiver decisions, especially if you’ve already secured a bye.
My goal is to keep it simple with the waiver wire recommendations in terms of layout. I will include player, team, roster percentage, free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) dollar amount (in percentage) I would use on the player, and of course a little background on why the player is suggested. The players will be listed by position in order of priority. The threshold I work with is generally less than 50% rostered in leagues. I also want to provide you something quick and easy to pull up while making your waiver claims on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. At the bottom of every article, you will find the “waiver cheat sheet.”
34% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
Taysom Hill has a promising schedule for the next three weeks, especially next week against the New York Jets. In addition to allowing an average of 274.6 passing yards passing per game, the New York Jets also give up the third most rushing yards and most rushing touchdowns regardless of position. It is a game tailor-made for Hill’s skillset. This is all great, but there is some current injury concern for Hill. He is dealing with a milder case of the mallet finger injury which sidelined Russell Wilson a few games this season. The good news is his finger will not require season-ending surgery. If Hill takes over as the starter and can stay healthy, his rest-of-season outlook is very favorable.
32% Rostered | 6% of FAAB
At the time of this writing, it looks as though Jimmy Garoppolo will finish the week as a top 10 fantasy quarterback for Week 13. His schedule ahead is laced with exploitable matchups against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans, and a championship week meeting against the Houston Texans. There doesn’t seem to be any sign or rumors of Garoppolo being benched for Trey Lance at this point and he should be a start-worthy option for fantasy managers rest of season.
5% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
The big news last Saturday evening was Philadelphia benching the ailing Jalen Hurts and giving the start to Gardner Minshew. Minshew contributed 233 yards passing of the team’s 418 total yards on Sunday. The Eagles definitely look more balanced, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Minshew finish out the season as Philadelphia’s quarterback. Once the Eagles return from their bye, they have two matchups in their final three weeks against division rival Washington Football Team who give up the most fantasy points to fantasy quarterbacks. It is a dream matchup for whatever quarterback is behind center in Philadelphia. If you are the Hurts manager, its not a terrible idea to grab Minshew. For streaming past next week, there may not be a better quarterback if Minshew were to get the job.
29% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
Hear me out, yes Cam Newton had a miserable Week 12. It is a fact no one can deny, and I can’t imagine you’d be a jolly-good fellow or gal if you were forced to start him. Still, it was only his third game back with Carolina and they will be coming out of the bye to play the Atlanta Falcons. This season, the Falcons give up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. If you are stuck without a backup to any of the bye week quarterbacks, Newton can be a decent fill-in. If he turns it around, three out of his final four matchups are against teams ranking in the bottom ten against fantasy quarterbacks.
68% Rostered | 25% of FAAB
Darrell Henderson was active in Sunday’s game, but you wouldn’t have known it. He did not log a single touch in the game, while announced “feature back” Sony Michel logged twenty-seven total touches, 129 yards, and a touchdown. If Henderson’s quad injury keeps him sidelined in Week 14 against the Arizona Cardinals, Michel would be a solid RB2 option for fantasy managers. Michel is rostered in sixty-eight percent of leagues, but may be available in some ten team leagues still.
41% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
I am willing to admit when I am wrong. Two weeks ago, when Michael Carter was sidelined with his ankle injury, I was all-in on Ty Johnson as the replacement, and it seems like I was wrong. Tevin Coleman looks to be the back to roster until Carter returns. Last Sunday Coleman had fourteen total touches for seventy-seven yards. Coleman and the Jets have a terrible matchup in Week 14, but the schedule clears up a little with weeks where he could serve as a flex need be.
6% Rostered | 7% of FAAB
1% Rostered | 6% of FAAB
14% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
We’ve been down this road before. This season in fact and with a different team and it wasn’t even too long ago. The Seattle Seahawks brought in Adrian Peterson this past week and immediately threw him into the starting role. He was tied for the team lead in backfield touches with Rashaad Penny with eleven. Penny looked like the far superior back on Sunday, although he lacked the touchdown carry on the stat line. Time will tell with how the Peterson experiment works out in Seattle, but my expectation is he ends up in the bottom of the pecking order like his short stint in Tennessee this season. Travis Homer had seven total touches on Sunday which includes his four receptions. I prefer Homer if you are going to grab one of the three for PPR (point per reception) formats. The schedule ahead has a couple of good matchups against the Texans and Lions, but you’ll have to navigate the challenging Week 15 and 16 matchups against the Rams and Bears.
40% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
4% Rostered | 5% of FAAB
The Eagles will head into their Week 14 bye with a big question mark at running back: the health of Miles Sanders once again. If Sanders is not back by Week 15, I would expect Boston Scott to handle the bulk of the work with Kenny Gainwell working in as a change of pace. Gainwell had a good game in tandem with Sanders to the tune of seventeen total touches for eighty-seven yards and a touchdown. The Jets have allowed multiple backs to score double digits against them multiple times this season, so seeing the Eagles succeed wasn’t too surprising. It was still encouraging to see Gainwell get work and if Sanders is out, both Scott and Gainwell look poised to excel.
34% Rostered | 15% of FAAB
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had his first game since Week 9 with over 200 passing yards on Sunday thanks in great part to Russell Gage’s 130 receiving yard performance. Gage was targeted a team high twelve times in the Falcons loss to the Bucs on Sunday. It marks his third game in a row with at least seven targets, in fact no Falcons receiver has received more than ten targets in a game since Calvin Ridley in Week 7 against the Dolphins. The Falcons have a tough game in Week 14 against a stingy Panthers pass defense and things don’t improve much better rest of season matchup-wise. However, any player getting at least seven targets a game is worth having on your bench as injuries continue to pile up.
52% Rostered | 15% of FAAB
DeVante Parker returned to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday after missing four weeks with five receptions for sixty-two yards. Parker has shown he is a great receiving option for the Dolphins when healthy and arrives back just us quarterback Tua Tagovailoa seems to have found his groove. Rookie Jaylen Waddle may have leapfrogged Parker on the depth chart, but I am expecting the seven-year veteran to see plenty of work while healthy. The Dolphins are on bye and then return with three matchups against the Jets, Saints, and Titans who give up an average of 39.3 PPR fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
6% Rostered | 12% of FAAB
Amon-Ra St. Brown had the best performance of his rookie season on Sunday with ten receptions for eighty-six yards and a touchdown. It was his fifth game in eight weeks with over six targets after starting the season averaging only three per game. His role in the offense is rising in Detroit especially with the Lions’ second-most targeted player sidelined. Detroit remains one of, if not the worst, teams in football so they will be playing from behind plenty the rest of this season. Expect St. Brown to continue to see targets in the offense even after D’Andre Swift returns.
4% Rostered | 10% of FAAB
Adam Thielen’s early exit on Sunday made room for KJ Osborn to once again emerge in the Vikings’ offense. The Vikings’ total performance may have been embarrassing against the Lions, but Osborn’s four receptions for forty-seven yards and a touchdown seemed on brand. For as long as Thielen is out, Osborn should be a WR3 option for your team. Osborn has a handful of games this season with over six targets and he either has over seventy yards or a touchdown in all but one of those contests. The Vikings have the seventh easiest strength of schedule rest of season against teams giving up the most fantasy points to fantasy wide receivers.
Wide Receiver is always deep, so here are a few more players rostered in less than 25% I would recommend rostering on your bench:
30% Rostered | 8% of FAAB
We mentioned KJ Osborn benefitting from the Adam Thielen injury this week, but he isn’t the only Vikings option you can target for replacement. Tight End Tyler Conklin caught seven balls for fifty-six yards on Sunday and should continue to see an increased workload while Thielen is out. I am expecting for Conklin to also see some of Thielen’s red zone work. The Vikings play the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday who are 9th against opposing fantasy tight ends. Still, with Conklin’s increased workload, I expect him to be a decent fill-in for those with Dallas Goedert or Mike Gesicki on bye.
29% Rostered | 7% of FAAB
Evan Engram has seen his role in the offense increase the last three weeks as the carousel of wide receiver injuries keeps going around for the New York Giants. In the past three weeks, he has had at least five targets in each game. Engram has an excellent slate of games the next three weeks with those teams giving up an average of seventeen points per game to opposing tight ends. Jake Fromm starting at quarterback for the Giants isn’t much of a concern for me, as I could see him leaning on Engram for check down passes.
Green Bay Packers
33% Rostered | 2% of FAAB
The Green Bay Packers face the Chicago Bears in Week 14 who are allowing the sixth most fantasy points to opposing fantasy defenses. Andy Dalton has thrown five interceptions in his last two games and faces the Packers who rank in the top ten of turning quarterbacks over this season.
New Orleans Saints
45% Rostered | 2% of FAAB
It surprises me the Saints are rostered in less than half of leagues currently. They face the Jets in Week 14 who have felt like a proverbial free space against opposing defenses this season while the revolving door of quarterbacks work themselves through East Rutherford. The Saints are currently allowing the least amount of fantasy points to opposing running backs and the Jets pass offense is anything less than high powered. They should be a top 5 DST in Week 14.